RWI/ISL Container Handling Index: World trade returns to growth

Trend

The container handling index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose again slightly in October to 139.9 according to the current flash estimate.

The most important results:

  • The container handling index of the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) rose slightly by 0.6 points to 139.9 in October.
  • ZAt the same time, the figures for the past two months were slightly revised downwards.
  • The slight upward trend of the past few months has thus become more pronounced, indicating that world trade is now growing moderately again.
  • However, the flash estimate for October is based on the data for 38 ports, which account for only about 43 percent of the handling volume shown in the index. This leads us to expect even greater revisions.
  • The RWI/ISL Container Handling Index for November 2019 will be published on 20 December 2019.

ISL’s Monthly Container Port Monitor published provides details on the regional developments. It shows that the development in individual regions is much less positive than, for example, in Northeast Asia. In particular, the comparison of this year's handling figures with those from 2018 illustrates the sometimes quite strong regional and national differences.

About the RWI/ISL container handling index:
The index includes the data on container transhipment in 83 international ports, which are continuously collected by the ISL as part of its market observation and account for around 60 percent of global container transhipment. Since international trade is mainly handled by sea, container transhipments allow reliable conclusions to be drawn about world trade. Because many ports already report on their activities two weeks after the end of a month, the RWI/ISL Container Handling Index is a reliable early indicator of the development of international trade in processed goods and thus also of global economic activity.